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Using Storytelling and Social Media to Change the Education Conversation

Patrick St. John, Creative & Online Communications Director

A few weeks ago, I was honored to speak on a panel and workshop at the 70th Annual Education Writers Association National Seminar in Washington, DC, on social media and storytelling.

With me were Virginia Tech biologist Anne Hilborn, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation's Patrick Riccards (better known as EduFlack), and NPR Ed Team reporter Cory Turner. We were moderated by Virginia Tech’s Cathy Grimes and the Learning Policy Institute’s Barbara McKenna.

Public education policy has a reputation for being both contentious and wonky, which is why finding new ways to connect researchers, journalists, policymakers, advocates, and community members is key to moving from debate to action. We were lucky enough to secure a two-session block, so we were able to answer many questions from the more than fifty audience members in attendance and really dive deep into storytelling, social media strategy, and case studies of these ideas operating in the education space.

A lot was covered, so I’ll focus on a few key takeaways discussed:

A few weeks ago, I was honored to speak on a panel and workshop at the 70th Annual Education Writers Association National Seminar in Washington, DC, on social media and storytelling.

Are you a Proud #PublicSchoolGrad?

Since their founding, local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more — people from all walks of life, contributing to society in a myriad of ways. The neighborhood public school is often the center of a civic and cultural life, recognized as the key to each community's future. The fate of public schools affect the fate of everyone: it's why they were one of the first institutions built by freed slaves during Reconstruction, and why they were so central to desegregating our towns and cities a century later.

And while the struggle continues to make our public schools more equitable and just for every child, we must also celebrate and protect those aspects that are now under threat by privatization, disinvestment, and resegregation. That's why the Schott Foundation is proud to lift up some of the countless success stories that our public schools produce every year from coast to coast.

Since their founding, local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more — people from all walks of life, contributing to society in a myriad of ways. The neighborhood public school is often the center of a civic and cultural life, recognized as the key to each community's future.

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The War on Black Girls' Hair in Charter and Private Schools

Hair is an integral part of black cultural expression, but it has little to do with educational development, says John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation. His response, highlighted in recent media reports, was a sharp dressing-down of a charter school in Malden, Mass., that disciplined African American girls who wore braided hair extensions to school. The case brought heightened attention to the boundaries of policing identity, and it activated our advocacy partners at the local ACLU, NAACP, and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice to get the school to reconsider its ban on hair extensions, which overwhelmingly affected students of color. It also got the attention of the state attorney general, who is now investigating.

Hair is an integral part of black cultural expression, but it has little to do with educational development, says John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation. His response, highlighted in recent media reports, was a sharp dressing-down of a charter school in Malden, Mass., that disciplined African American girls who wore braided hair extensions to school.

These Brilliant Student Performers Will Each Soon Be a Proud #PublicSchoolGrad

From their establishment more than a century ago, local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more.

At our 25th Anniversary Awards Gala, the Schott Foundation showcased several talented student artists from New York City public schools to highlight the importance of the arts and music in all our public schools, regardless of neighborhood or ZIP code.

From their establishment more than a century ago, local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more.

"The Battle for Public Education is Personal, Historical, Legal, and Moral."

Rev. Dr. William Barber was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Schott Foundation 25th Anniversary Awards Gala, and his acceptance speech brought the crowd to their feet and quickly went viral.

Rev. Dr. William Barber was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Schott Foundation 25th Anniversary Awards Gala, and his acceptance speech brought the crowd to their feet and quickly went viral.

Watch his full speech below, and share the message with your friends:

Resourcing Movements: Philanthropy and Advocacy Partnerships to Secure the Opportunity to Learn

Publication Date: 
Thu, 2017-05-11
Type: 
reports

In 1991, the Schott Foundation for Public Education launched with an overarching objective that we still work toward today: to develop and strengthen a broad-based movement for equity in education, ensuring that all children have an opportunity to learn. This is a look back at how we've made that happen and the impact we've had over time.

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Racism in Philanthropy: Effective Practices for Grantmakers

In April 2017, Schott convened thought leaders to begin a dialogue challenging philanthropies to examine themselves as they encourage communities and organizations to achieve racial equity. Foundation staff and board members are overwhelmingly white, and the origins of philanthropy in the United States involve wealth creation at the expense of and to the detriment of people of color. In addition, internal practices at foundations often perpetuate inequities. This hour-long webinar offer insights and recommendation about how foundations can be more intentional and honest as they seek systemic change with regard to race, ethnicity and class in the communities they fund.

“Now more than ever before, philanthropy must apply a racial justice lens to its grantmaking and other community engagement efforts. And we must look inside our own walls to be sure we’re practicing what we preach,” said Edgar Villanueva, Schott Foundation vice-president of programs and advocacy.

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Early Administration Moves on Education: Disheartening, Disconcerting and Downright Disturbing

Tanya Clay House
Education is a civil right and it remains the responsibility of federal, state and local administrators and staff to implement ESSA in a manner that reflects this right. The combination of eliminating the ESSA Title I Accountability, State Plan and Data rules; refusing to administer and eliminating the Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities Diversity Grants; withdrawing the transgender guidance; and proposing $3 billion of cuts to public education—just to name a few—is disheartening, disconcerting and downright disturbing to anyone who understands the history of education in America and its power to uplift all communities.

Though hailed as a bipartisan “Christmas Miracle” when it was signed into law in December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was not an ideal bill—by far. It was not the bill most in the civil rights community wanted, nor was it the bill that many of us at the U.S. Department of Education wanted.

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Embracing Discomfort and Achieving Equity in Philanthropy

Social justice-minded philanthropies help create systems change by empowering local leadership and supporting grassroots movements to move the needle for poor communities and people of color. However, philanthropy isn’t always bringing the right tools to the task to solve these big problems rooted in social inequity, and sometimes our field perpetuates inequities in the communities we claim to care about.

When events like the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling or the violence against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe rouse the nation's attention to structural inequalities, philanthropies that have the ability to create systems change often instead provide a ritualistic, intellectual response that's safe and comfortable. But to achieve the equity we all claim to be in search of, philanthropy must have a look in the mirror and lean into some very uncomfortable conversations about who we are, what we believe, and how we could adapt our approaches to new realities and environments.

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Schott Grantees Convene to Change the Conversation

One of the pleasures of working at The Schott Foundation for Public Education is that we have the opportunity to work with and learn from our grantee partners who do incredible grassroots organizing work all across the country. These public education advocates lead campaigns in their respective regions, but on March 15 and 16 leaders from 22 of our grantee partners convened together for our first Opportunity to Learn Network Communications Summit. Experts on media training, message development, education, and social justice organizing led workshops to enhance these leaders’ skills.

One of the pleasures of working at the Schott Foundation for Public Education is that we have the opportunity to work with and learn from our grantee partners who do incredible grassroots organizing work all across the country. These public education advocates lead campaigns in their respective regions, but on March 15 and 16 leaders from 22 of our grantee partners convened together for our first Opportunity to Learn Network Communications Summit.

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